The first couple of days


It is now Thursday night and so far we have spent our first days in our new home.  I think this was my first stumbling block, not thinking that the van is actually our home now.  It is something that we are getting more used to.

Our first mistake on aires life was not being able to get water.  The first night at Le Crotoy had a service area but was not activated until later on in the year.  At Amboise we choose the free aire that was without a water supply over the 12 euro campsite, so it was not until today that we stumbled across a free aire in Loches with water where we filled up the tank.  We can now have a shower tomorrow and stop washing up with mineral water.

We are now at Roullet St. Estephe, another free aire, which is about 100 Km north of Bordeaux.   Surprisingly we plan to fly (exaggeration as we struggle to top 65 mph!!) past there and miss all the wine caves as we are trying to head down south relatively quickly.  So far we have not spent more than 3 euros on a bottle on wine or used any toll roads.

Highlights for me so far have been the marina/estuary view from the van on our first night in Le Crotoy (see photo) and of course the baguettes.  Sharon enjoyed Amboise due to the impressive river side Chateaux that dominates the town and the fact that she has not forgot all her French – she managed to sweet talk a local grocer in to giving her a free beetroot!


It is now Saturday morning and I am making these notes from St. Jean de Luz which is a historic coastal town south of Biarritz.  We arrived last night in the pouring rain, in fact it is still pouring down.  To sum up last night I am using an extract from Sharon’s written notes below.  We popped out into the town to buy some food for the night and I was contemplating the merits of purchasing a 1.5 litre of very cheap red wine in a plastic bottle:

“the grumpy Basque shopkeeper turned out to be really friendly and helpful to the point of advising M not to buy the v.v cheap red wine (shopkeeper actually took it out of his basket and put it back on the shelf shouting Non! Non! Non!)  He suggested another bottle, which to be fair, was still only 1.79 euros.  At the check-out he gave us a free baguette – ah bless”.

The extra baguette did not manage to soak up the recommended wine though, I have a bad head today!  However, on the up side, Basque pate with their regional chili is very tasty.



6 thoughts on “The first couple of days”

  1. Am envying the proper French baguettes. Very impressed with the austerity so far. Hope you find the sun soon. Lots of love. X


  2. Happy 4oth birthday for yesterday (oops!) Matt! Hope you celebrated in style! (Did you exceed your (previous) ceiling of three Euros for a bottle of wine?!)

    We’re enjoying reading your blog – keep up the good work!


    Steve & Maryann


  3. Hey guys. Just a quick thought on your route. If you do make it as far as Pisa, it’s very much worth going just that bit further to see the Tuscan hill towns, Montepluciano et al. They’re quite wonderful to visit. Chianti is a pretty fabulous area too. Long way off yet though I know. Cheers, Jay


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